PEOPLE who identify as trans or gender diverse will soon have better access to safe and inclusive health services in Ballarat.
The clinics will be opened at existing community health service centres in Ballarat and Preston. They were chosen to participate in the initiative by the state government following a competitive tender led by Your Community Health.
Jane Measday, General Manager of Social Support at Ballarat Community Health, said the aim of the clinic was to provide safe and inclusive health services for the gender diverse community.
"Trans and gender diverse people are one of the most vulnerable groups in Victoria. People in that community experience high rates of stigma, discrimination, disadvantage and suicide," she said.
The initiative will mean Ballarat Community Health can provide a range of new GP, specialist services and counselling as well as provide key positions for transgender people.
"One of the key positions we will be recruiting for soon is what is called a peer navigator, who is a person with lived experience who can provide information and advice to people and their families about services," she said.
The clinic is partnering with Austin Health so will be able to refer patients for specialist services like endocrinology.
The funding allows for Ballarat Community Health to purchase Allied Health Services as required and Ms Measday said one service they would be looking at was speech therapy.
Through the clinic, the community health centre - which is rainbow tick accredited - will provide training opportunities for partner organisations so they are able to better understand gender diversity and provide respectful services.
Ms Measday said they would also be looking for businesses like clothing stores and hairdressers who patients can be referred to for a safe and welcoming experience.
"This is such a positive and exciting thing for our community. Our staff here are just so positive about the fact that we will be able to provide services for this group of people and for our community. There is certainly a lot of anticipation and hopefulness. We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve to bring this service into the community," she said.
The clinic will open later this year.